Sunday, September 04, 2011
Ten Years
[I am writing this at the behest of a dear friend who is compiling people's reflections, thoughts, and feelings on 9/11 ten years later. I look forward to seeing what others write, and am honored that he asked me to participate. Update: To see the finished project, please visit . It's well worth your time.]

The morning of September 11, 2001, I received a frantic phone call from my mother. My aunt, who had been visiting Nashville for a few weeks, had boarded a plane earlier that morning to return to Los Angeles. Within a few minutes of her departure, news had broken that someone had flown a plane into one of the World Trade Center towers. Details were still very sketchy at that point but it's fair to say that Mom was freaking the fuck out. I calmed her down the best I could, pointing out that Nashville was a long way from New York. Certainly this was just some sort of freak accident that, while decidedly unfortunate, was going to end up being little more than a blip on the American Tragedy Radar. I hung up the phone and chuckled to myself that some poor bastard had gotten loaded, taken off in his Cessna, and John Denvered himself into the side of the World Trade Center. And then I heard that the second tower had been hit. Hmm. Maybe my drunken pilot hypothesis had a couple holes.

As more details emerged, my brain slowly began to register the horror and magnitude of what was taking place. Like the rest of us I was sickened by what I saw on the television. The jets flying into the skyscrapers. The towers engulfed in flames. The sight of the people who jumped out of the buildings, deciding in their final seconds of life that it was better to leave this world by diving hundreds of feet onto cement than by being burned alive in a crumbling prison of concrete and steel. I cannot fathom what must have been going through the minds of those in the towers, as well as those who were on the planes; the crushing dread and despair of knowing that they would never see or speak to their loved ones again. Knowing their children would have to grow up without a parent, their wife would -- within a matter of minutes -- be a widow. The grandchildren they'd never meet, the mother to whom they would never be able to say "I love you" ever again. I simply cannot imagine how that must have felt, but I don't really want to try, either. And those men and women who ran into the fire -- literally and figuratively -- to save others? The word "hero" is not big enough.

The horror of that day has been well-documented by much better writers than I so there is no need for me to elaborate further, and political responses to the attacks of 9/11 are best left to those with more knowledge than I possess. But speaking as Random Jane Q. Public, I must admit that I'm frustrated by our collective apathy with regard to the world that exists outside our borders. Via a National Geographic study, I present Exhibit A:

"The survey demonstrates the geographic illiteracy of the United States," said Robert Pastor, professor of International Relations at American University, in Washington, D.C. "The results are particularly appalling in light of September 11, which traumatized America and revealed that our destiny is connected to the rest of the world."

About 11 percent of young citizens of the U.S. couldn't even locate the U.S. on a map. The Pacific Ocean's location was a mystery to 29 percent; Japan, to 58 percent; France, to 65 percent; and the United Kingdom, to 69 percent.

One in ten can't find the US on a map? Oh, that's just spectacular. Almost one in three can't find the Pacific Ocean. How is this even possible? It takes up like a quarter of the entire planet or some such shit. Yet if you asked the typical American about Kim Kardashian -- the undeniably attractive yet equally undeniably vapid young woman who has managed to parlay getting peed on in a sex tape into fame and fortune -- they could tell you all about her business. Christ on a cracker, is it any wonder the rest of the world hates us?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming the 9/11 attacks on Kim Kardashian (although there's a part of me that wishes I could -- I'm not gonna lie) but at some point we as Americans have to acknowledge our own shortcomings as well as those of our government. We've heard statistics like those previously mentioned; we've seen them among American beauty pageant contestants who blame the ills of the world on a lack of maps. And we respond with the occasional rueful headshake and What-can-you-do? shrug. We have devolved into a society that not only accepts ignorance but passively encourages it. (Sarah Palin, anyone? Because come on, no matter what your political ideology this is a woman who has built her political foundation on quips, winks, homespun folksiness, and general likability instead of her firm grasp of foreign and domestic policy.)

George W. Bush's response to the American people after 9/11 was that "Al Queda hates us because of our freedom." This, to me, ranks up at the top of the list of his ludicrous statements, and I will admit that in my estimation that is a very long list indeed. But I think it would have been much more accurate had Bush admitted that in the early 1990's the American government had encouraged the people of the Middle East to revolt and promised them our support. We told them we had their backs. They revolted, we helped them out for a little while, and then we bugged the fuck out of there leaving them holding the bag. People were subsequently raped, tortured and murdered, banished from their homeland, left to starve, and, in possession of precisely nothing, forced to try to make their way in the wilds of Afghanistan. America was all, "We got what we wanted, mostly, so thanks! Good luck to ya! Oh, and God Bless!"

Um, I don't think it was "freedom" that caused them to hate us, President W. There are many other nations who have similar freedoms that are not the targets of animosity. Belgium? Canada? Sweden? The Netherlands? Portugal? Switzerland? Brazil? All free nations, last I checked. Yet when he made that ridiculous proclamation an alarming percentage of Americans rallied around it, accepting it as truth because, after all, it was just those dirty backward Muslims, jealous of our televisions and air-conditioning and crazy voting ways, that felt compelled to pilot a jet into the side of a building on the other side of the world.

There are people who would love nothing more than to witness America's destruction. There were a few on 9/11 who managed to carry out a plan designed to do that very thing. I hope that as I write this those people are battling explosive diarrhea in the deepest pits of toilet-less hell along with the likes of Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and Hitler while waiting for their lapdances from some non-existent celestial virgins. I hope their time in eternity is filled with the misery and grief they wrought on so many others who were guilty of nothing but trying to live their lives the best they could. I hope there is nothing to eat in hell but head cheese and brussels sprouts.

I will not defend the indefensible. The actions of 9/11 were at the hand of a group of evil zealots with no regard for human life. Their hatred is unimaginable to me. But that hatred came from somewhere. Bin Laden and his ilk planted the seed, and those who perpetrated the attacks allowed it to grow. But there had to be soil for it to take root, and it is incredibly disheartening to me that -- while I am certain our government didn't knowingly cause these problems -- it contributed to them.

We must acknowledge that there is a world outside our country, a world that -- contrary to what the former President said -- doesn't give a shit about our nice cars, leather handbags, or some skank that gets pissed on on camera.

We have to wake up. We owe it to those who died ten years ago. They deserve better.

Sunday, July 12, 2009
I Have Some Spectacular News!
Oh my, it's been so long.

Well, anyway! What's new, you whores? Not much has changed here in Chateau de Sparkles. The Mister and I continue to work our delicate fingers to the bone every day, although now that I think of it my husband would probably not appreciate having his hands referred to as delicate, so let's call his manly. Mine are delicate. Delicate like rose petals. The cats are doing well and are probably planning their next MMA encounter as we speak. Most of the time they toddle around doing their own thing, but every once in a while it's like a bell rings somewhere in the distance, a bell only the two of them can hear, and then it's ON. Chasing, pouncing, stalking, followed by more chasing and pouncing, and then the occasional throttling. Then they retreat to their separate corners and take naps like nothing ever happened. Now that it's summer their sparring sessions have decreased in frequency which is just fine since they often occur around 4 o'clock in the morning. Mama needs her beauty sleep. Mama needs more than sleep actually, but that's really another story.

Ah, summertime. Which brings me to a very exciting development here in SparklesLand. We have an abundance of wildlife here, despite the fact that we're in a pretty urban area. There are a bunch of birds and squirrels, and I have managed to make friends with members of both species! There's a little gray bird who hangs around our deck and pecks away at the birdseed we've put out. Other birds do that too of course, but this particular one doesn't mind me being outside while she does it. She chows down equally well solo or with an audience. Either she's not afraid of people or she's really goddamn hungry. Either way she is now my new animal friend, and her name is Gertie. There's also a very young squirrel who shares Gertie's lack of shyness and/or overwhelming hunger, and I had a nice conversation with her today as she gnawed on some sunflower seeds right in front of me. No, I wasn't drunk. And I have named her Bonita. But the best thing of all is that I'm pretty sure I've seen a bat flying around!

I've written before about my desire to establish my own personal bat colony but geography and environment have conspired to keep that dream unrealized. But the other evening I was sitting outside trying to attract some new animal friends when out of the corner of my eye I saw the frenetic fluttering of a small animal in the sky. My heart wouldn't let me believe it at first. I was trying to talk myself out of it. Maybe it was a drunk bird? A robin hooked on meth? A crow who had smoked too much bad shit? But no! It was a bat... I was sure of it! I sat and thought what I could do at that very moment to encourage it to keep fluttering around my backyard, disposing of all the mosquitoes that I'd coated myself in DEET to repel. Would it like an old banana? Some rotting meat? I didn't know! What do bats really like? What is their equivalent of beer and nachos? In the end I decided to put it into Mother Nature's hands and let the chips fall where they may. I sure hope that bitch is my friend.

So, that about wraps it up. You are probably astounded right now by my exciting life on the edge and feeling a bit dejected about your own lackluster existence. Please do not feel that way. I promise you that stalking bats and talking to indigenous rodents is not as exciting as it may sound.

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted anything, but living the life of a daredevil requires a great deal of time. Oh, before I forget! Some have asked why I'm not on Twitter. Well, I AM, my bitches! I have been for a while actually but never did anything with it. I still don't do THAT much with it since I refuse to be that guy who posts about what they're cooking for dinner or how sunburned their nose got while they were gardening. I've only recently started "twittering" on a semi-regular basis (oh my sweet lord kill me now) and those are still pretty few and far between. But if you're so inclined you can follow me here. I can't promise much, but I'll definitely post more there than I do here.

Until next time, whores. xoxo

Sunday, April 26, 2009
Conversations Around the Campfire Part I
This weekend The Mister and I went camping with some of our closest friends. Naturally we sat around the campfire and drank booze a great deal of the time, and you can probably imagine the conversations that ensued amongst our dumb asses. To wit:

Friend: What kind of tree is that? Is that an oak? An elm? I can't tell from this distance.

The Mister: It's an oak. Very tall, very straight. That's our family motto! "Be as the oak: strong and upright."

Me: Huh? Your family has its own motto?

The Mister: On my father's side, yes.

Me: A family motto! Wow. That's kind of hardcore.

The Mister: Well, your family might have one too. If they did, what do you think it would be?

Me: "Pass the gravy."

Monday, January 05, 2009
A Random Thought While Watching The Fiesta Bowl
I'm thinking that if you are a male member (hee!) of a university marching band flag-twirling brigade it would probably be easier just to walk around campus naked except for a fringed leather vest and some lace chaps. I mean you'd be sending the same message, but it's a lot less effort.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
My Holiday Gift To You
Anyone who reads this website with any degree of regularity can tell you about my bizarre, completely unwarranted fascination with Sandra Lee.  Over two years ago I wrote about how she should be punched in the face because of her horrifying Kwaanza celebration cake, which has been referred to by others as an "edible hate crime."  There's no way my words can do justice to that repugnant piece of crap, so I've decided to provide you with the visual.  I just watched it and when it got to the part where she was sticking the candles in the cake I laughed so hard I choked on my apple juice.  That bitch is out of her gourd.

Saturday, December 20, 2008
I'm Not Dead, I'm Just In Virginia
You have probably been thinking that I am dead. I am not. Yay!

I would just like to say that I have been drinking a fair amount of vodka, so please cut me some slack.

Ok! So, anyway... one of the reasons I've been so horrible about writing is that something screwed up the keyboard on my laptop. I don't know what happened, but some of the keys got all sticky and wouldn't work. I'm pretty sure I didn't spill anything on it, so as far as I'm concerned the only logical explanation is that one of my glorious little feline princesses peed on my computer. That isn't really a good explanation since neither one of them tinkles indiscriminately but I am refusing to accept the blame for any computer keyboard destruction so I am going to pin it on something that can't argue. But The Mister bought and installed a new keyboard for me a few days ago, so watch out bitches!

The other reason for my lack of writing is the fact that I am a lazy old cow. But let's not dwell on that fact, shall we?

Anyway, there's not much to report. At present I am sitting in a hotel suite in Roanoke VA with my husband and his two sons who are here for the holidays. Number One Son (who is on his "gap year" - the year between high school and college) has spent the last year in Europe wreaking havoc that I am much happier not knowing about, despite my partial funding of it. Like when he called from Amsterdam pleading for money and I said "Send it to him but for the love of Christ don't tell me what he's going to spend it on." And Number Two Son came over directly from his home in Australia. His mischief has all been local up to this point because he hasn't invaded Europe yet but that day is coming soon. Europe, before too long you'll have an exuberant consumption machine who spends most of his time eating, farting, and trying to score booze. You'll probably want to prepare yourself.

We spent some time at Pop's Sparkles in New Jersey and took the train into New York City where we trudged around in slush and tried to dodge freezing rain. I harumphed my way around Times Square, Madison Square Garden, and Rockefeller Plaza while being pelted in the face with freezing precipitation, but we grabbed some dogs at Nathan's and that made it all worth it. I know it's all eyelids and assholes, but hot damn! That's a good fucking hot dog.

So we're on our way home now, which will leave me with a total of three bastards who eat their weight in food every day while informing me that it's not to-MAY-toe, it's to-MAH-toe.

Bastards. It's going to be a long ass week.

Thursday, November 20, 2008
An Ode To My Husband
Following is a transcript of some of today's instant messages between me and a coworker:

Coworker: [Manager who shall not be named] wants to know if he can take a vacation day on Sunday. I've already got coverage for him but I told him we'd need your permission first.

Me: As long as there's coverage it's alright with me. Why does he need Sunday off?

CW: He's proposing to his girlfriend on Saturday night.

Me: In that case, tell his ass to get in here on Sunday so he can work toward paying off that freaking rock he just bought her.

CW: I know! He sprang for a real diamond and everything. What's wrong with cubic zirconia or pawnshops?

Me: He's so young and idealistic.

CW: After two failed marriages I can tell you that if I ever do it again I'll have my girlfriend collect aluminum cans. Then she can buy whatever ring she wants with the can money.

Me: You are so romantic.

CW: Maybe she'll bring candles so there will be some nice ambiance when I present her with a can of beanie weenies.

Me: You have the soul of a poet.

CW: If I'm in the right mood I might even buy name brand.

Me: Well, [The Mister] and I got married in a conference/storage room in a courthouse in Columbiana, Alabama. And then we stopped by Sonic for lunch on our way home to take a nap. You sound like my kind of people.

CW: Did you supersize anything?

Me: Just our love.